By Kevin Deutsch
A Coral Springs 8-year-old with special needs got the ultimate birthday surprise when a charity paid for her day-long birthday celebration, along with plenty of gifts.
Miracle Nickens, born with Down syndrome, lost her father last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her mother, Nicole Lewis, wanted to do something special for Miracle’s birthday on Feb. 24. But with a planned trip to Walt Disney World canceled due to the COVID crisis, a celebration seemed unlikely.
That’s when Lewis and the wish-granting charity Sunshine Foundation, through a grant provided by The Batchelor Foundation, came through with the ultimate Coral Springs birthday bash: a day of cake-eating, gift-giving, and present-opening Miracle won’t soon forget.
“She doesn’t have her dad anymore, so we wanted to make sure it was special,” Lewis said of Miracle’s February party. “It was a really fun day. I think the biggest thing for me is because she’s special needs – and because she’s literally our miracle baby – the fact that she is verbal now and she’s in dance, and she’s just doing really well. Even in the midst of all the things that have happened, it made me happy to see her happy and having fun.”
Some of the stops on Miracle’s all-day birthday tour included a trip to Plaster Carousel in Coral Springs for painting and crafts; Coral Square Mall for Miracle’s first ear piercings (plus a set of shimmering, aquamarine studs); a visit to Build-A-Bear Workshop; then back home to Wyndham Lakes for slices of delicious cake.
Miracle’s favorite present among the gifts she received: a new guitar.
Formerly non-verbal, she has been jamming on her new instrument – and talking up a storm – ever since.
“She loves it,” Lewis said of the guitar. “She loves music, so one of the things I’m trying to do is get her into music programs and help her express herself.”
“In a year full of difficulties…we are thankful that Miracle was able to celebrate her 8th birthday with lots of fun and presents that we probably would not have been able to do for her without the support of the Sunshine Foundation.”
The Florida-based charity uses money from donors to answer “the dreams of children, ages three through 18, who have profound physical, developmental, intellectual challenges or trauma from physical or sexual abuse, and whose families cannot fulfill their requests,” according to the foundation’s website.
“It was a really special time for us,” Lewis said.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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